Chapter Eight


Reed Taylor’s bike purred like a kitten, but I needed it to roar like a tiger. I was pushing it as fast as I dared, but I knew it wasn’t fast enough. You can’t outrun these things, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try.

Even now, darkness twined around the trees and buildings like the searching tendrils of a plant. But these were tendrils of despair; they were loss personified. The closer they got to me, the more I felt like throwing my arms in the air and giving up. Except I’m not one to bow down. They ought to know that by now.

“Hang on,” I shrieked. The bike squealed, and we hung a sharp left. We zoomed down a smaller side street. The darkness pooled around us, momentarily confused.

I chuckled.

“You’re enjoying this!” Reed Taylor sounded panicked.

“Stick with me, kid,” I said and pushed the bike to full speed again.

Demons were coming out of the woodwork. Literally. I saw them spill out of houses and vomit themselves up from the ground. I had never seen so many at one time. They scrabbled and crawled and flew.

“This looks bad, Reed Taylor,” I said, and suddenly, my muscles contracted.

“Luna! What’s wrong?”

I couldn’t speak. The pain radiated out from between my shoulder blades and ran down my limbs. All of my energy was spent on keeping us upright. The bike slowed. I grit my teeth and pushed it up again.

“I. Will. Not. Lose,” I hissed and felt my eyes narrow. The motorcycle let out a roar as I accelerated.

“Do we have to drive so fast?” Reed Taylor asked me.

“They run fast,” I called back.

As if to prove it, I saw a dark shape out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look, and my heart nearly stopped. A demon was running alongside the bike, its face turned sharply toward me. He had visible legs, not the foggy, featureless robe of darkness that most of them had. This one was nearly tangible even without my help. Seeing it loping eerily alongside us, its eyes on mine, nearly made me lose my mind with terror.

Dear heavens, please let this trick work again. I slammed on my brakes. Just for a second, enough for the demon to shoot past us, but it rocked the bike and made Reed Taylor go haywire. As it should. His bike was a beauty, and it would be a shame to drop it out here in the middle of the road.

Oh yeah, and to die while doing so.

“What are you doing?” Reed Taylor screamed. I could hardly breathe, he was holding me so tightly. I stuck my foot on the ground and made an abrupt right turn. The demon was doubling back for us.

“Saving your life,” I called back and gasped. The pain was excruciating.

“You’re hurting. Where?” He asked me. I could barely bite out the words.

“My back. Shoulder blades.”

Reed pulled up my shirt and muttered something I couldn’t hear in the screaming wind.

“What?” I demanded. I could feel the demons behind me, but neither they nor the darkness were directly in my line of vision.

“It looks like frostbite or something. You have holes. Like skewers or claws, maybe. I’ve never seen . . . what did this?”

“Demon,” I said, and the running demon appeared at my side as if summoned. I shrieked.


The demon was close, only a few inches away. Its eyes seared into mine, and I had to force myself to keep my attention on the road. The demon reached for me. My muscles contracted.

“On your left! Kick it, kick it!”

Reed Taylor didn’t need to be told twice. He kicked spastically at the demon, connecting with it once or twice.

“Holy crap, I felt something!” His voice was full of wonder.

“It’s the demon! Keep kicking!”

Reed Taylor did. The demon was getting clobbered by size 13 steel-toed boots, and by the sound of it, it wasn’t enjoying it at all.

“A little higher! More to the right.”

Reed Taylor kicked a mighty kick, and the demon grabbed at its face and fell to the ground. I cheered, but that was cut short when the Mark on my back seared into my soul. It was excruciating.

“Hey, you’re losing control of the bike! Pull yourself together!”

I tried, but the pain was too much. I coughed, and something warm and wet bubbled out of my throat and ran over my lips. The air grew heavy, and I felt my eyes start to roll up.

“Pull over. Pull over.”

I did exactly as Reed Taylor said. He took one look at me and pushed me forcefully to the back of the bike.

“My turn. You need to go to a hospital.”

“No. Home.”

“Dude, you totally look like . . . ”

“Take me home, Reed Taylor!” I commanded, and he shook his head bitterly. I wrapped my arms around him and leaned my head against his back.

“So, uh, are they still after us?” he asked. I met his beautiful eyes briefly in the rearview mirror before I looked away.

“No. I mean, yes, but not like they were before. You hurt the main one when you slammed it in the head. It was almost fully formed, and they’re pretty vulnerable when they’re like that. Strong too, though.” I was really tired.

“I didn’t think you could feel a demon.”

“Usually, you can’t.”

“Sounds like a long story. Up for telling me later?”

“Mmm,” I said. It was the best I could do.

“Hold on, Luna. I’ll get you home.”

I didn’t answer. A while later, he said something else.


“I said, no wonder you always wear a helmet when you ride. You’re a freakin’ maniac.”

He sounded pleased. I nearly smiled.

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